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Boating: Boat partnership Condo Style Part II

May 11, 2011
By boatguy Ed

Re-cap of Part I: Long time ago I was offered a share 20 percent share of an older 40-foot boat and turned it down because of bad experienced with partners. Recently that same offer was again, and I've been contemplating taking the offer this time.

Part II: “Don't even think of it,” my lovely wife said after I told her of my consideration of the 'Condo Boat'. “We don't need another 40-foot boat. What we have now suits us just fine.”

“Yes, but I'd like to travel farther and stay longer now that I have the time,” I said as I dreamed of another trip to the Dry Tortugas or even to the Bahamas. “You loved our last big boat, and you were sad to see it go, too?”

“I didn't love the fuel costs or the semi-annual bottom job or the insurance,” she said, and she was right. I argued that those cost would be shared 5 ways. We know and like all the partners.

“You'll make enemies of Bill and Arnie when you offer them less than what they need!”

“It's such a shame, is all, but the boat is worth far less today than they have in it. It's not because of anything they did but because all boats aren't selling,” I hung my head and kicked the imaginary dirt.

“Why are you asking me, anyway. You'll do what you want, won't you?”

The next day I was on my way out to Glades Boat Storage with 'Picky Pete,' my Marine Surveyor buddy who owes me a favor. This remote marina is 12 miles east of La Belle on the Caloosahatchee River, and it's popularity stems from the belief that it is a good hurricane hiding spot. The rates are much less expensive than any boat yard in Fort Myers.

We met 'Max the Hack' at the boat. He wanted us to believe that it was coincidental but I knew the word had been spread that we were making the trip. 'Picky Pete' was very happy that the boat was open and a little cooler than if it was locked up tight in the May heat and sunshine. “Did you bring your check book,” 'Max the Hack' joked.

“My wife hid it,” I joked back. “This is a touchy situation with two good friends. I'd hate to lose either one of them if I low-ball them. I've got to take that into consideration.”

He explained that 'Bean Town Bernie' had been carrying most of the maintenance load for the two errant partners and was pretty fed up. He wanted to know if 'Picky Pete' was doing a formal survey or just a favor. When I told him it was just a favor, he asked if 'Picky Pete' would do a report with a value attached.

“They might be in for a shock,” 'Picky Pete' said after I told him of the request. “The boat is pretty sound for her age but there are three glaring deficiencies that would flunk any survey. The raw water cooling hoses need replaced and two thru-hulls have to be changed before it goes back into the water if they want me to put it down on paper.”

“That isn't a deal breaker. It's two weekends work. In any event, what would you say the boat is worth,” I asked. He begged off until he could do some research. After three days Pete sent me over a 'for your own eyes' appraisal. I didn't even look at the number until I read his condition report. They don't call him 'picky' for nothing but I liked the way he categorized his recommendations.

Category one was must do, category two was probably should do soon, and category three was mostly cosmetic. So far so good, no deal breakers yet. Under the 'General Condition' section he checked 'fair to poor' and I knew right then and there no one else would see that survey. Most other surveyors would have rated the boat at least a 'good to fair' but that is why I like Pete, he's brutally honest.

When I dropped my eyes to the evaluation box, I was expecting a low number but not that low. Pete anticipated my shock by listing a number of vessels on several Internet brokerage sites that were about $10,000 more but listed as 'excellently maintained' and his argument that the Condo boat wasn't as hard to argue against.

I re-read the report several times as I sat by the water. Each time, I reconciled another point. My wife came out on the dock and asked what I was reading. She already knew but wanted to see if I had come to my senses.

“It's not a deal breaker,” I said as I tore up the report. Maybe not but I just can't force myself to make such a low ball offer to friends.

Boatguy Ed is a retired bottom paint maker and is currently a volunteer extra on his son's Boater's Treasures television show that sells half priced dining certificates, Send your comments to!



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